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November 2016

Happy Thanks Giving!!

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Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to
recognize how good things really are. –
Marianne Williamson  

With great joy, Soul Shoppe is taking the time to count our blessings.

We are thankful for all our students who practice I Messages and Clean Ups.  Expressing our needs and telling someone we are sorry for something we did are some of the hardest conversations to have, and they do it boldly every day.

We are thankful for all our schools’ administrative staff and teachers who have brought Soul Shoppe into their classrooms through daily practice. We are thankful for all the adults who help our kids choose empathy over hate.

We are thankful for all our donors, who help us bring more communication and conflict resolution skills to schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally. The time, money and effort they give to Soul Shoppe helps us serve thousands of kids.  With their support we are shaping the next generation of emotionally intelligent leaders.

We are thankful for our Soul Shoppe staff! These lovely humans have dedicated themselves to bringing more light into the world. Facilitators go out to schools, teaching tools and encouraging students and school staff to be their best selves. Our administrative staff cheerfully answers phones and questions, working tirelessly to advance the Soul Shoppe cause. These bright, engaging, fabulous people could be working anywhere, but they are here–working hard for schools, teachers, parents, kids and each other because they believe in the Soul Shoppe mission.

Honestly, our Soul Shoppe hearts are full with gratitude. Thank you ALL for the love and support, the willingness and commitment, the creativity and the compassion, and most of all for believing in a vision of a world that celebrates empathy over divisiveness and communication over aggression.


What’s Up at Soul Shoppe:
We are Building an APP


At Soul Shoppe, we are always working to deliver better programming to kids, school staff and parents. We want to find more ways to push communication over exclusion and conflict resolution over aggressive behavior. With that in mind, we have started to build the first app designed to help our kids become emotionally intelligent leaders of the next generation.  This app will help kids identify and regulate their emotions. In our school programming, this would support the lessons on “The Balloon” from the Check In workshop.

The Balloon is a metaphorical place inside of ourselves where we stuff down all the “not nice” emotions we don’t want to or we don’t know how to deal with: anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. But, like a real balloon, there is only so much room to push into before consequences are felt. With our metaphorical balloon, feelings may leak out in ways that look like mean comments, aggressive behavior, etc.  Bullying behaviors usually indicate that a person has a full balloon and hurt feelings that have not been addressed.

The Soul Shoppe Balloon app will give kids the opportunity to identify how they are feeling in the moment to stop and breath and then to choose an activity that will allow them to empty their balloon in a healthy way, i.e. drawing, singing, walking, exercise, etc.

The Tech: We have gathered and created artwork, designed a user interface (UI) and are prepared to start the actual building of the app.  All of these accomplishments are thanks to the help of Micah Russo and Amit Mukherjee who donated their time, talents and expertise to get us to the next level on this project.

The Need: We need a mobile app developer who can build an iOS and/or Android App. It is an interactive app for 6-12 year olds.   The scope of work is a small educational game. There is an existing art style and prototype click-through to use as a baseline, although, we welcome creative collaboration.

The Soul Shoppe program has been in use for 16 years with over 100,000 students internationally and we are interested in the long-term development of this app.   Please contact us if you have the time, interest, inclination or funding to make this hand-held version of Soul Shoppe available to kids around the world.

People Are Saying:
Soul Shoppe “…is ingrained in them.”


Sometimes Impact is seen immediately in the classroom and sometimes we hear about positive impact years later.  Both are rewarding.  This is the story of love reaching through a cellphone to say, “Thank You! You made a difference.” 

Letter From a Parent:

Hi there Randy,

We met today at Marylin Elementary during the Soul Shoppe assembly. I wanted to share a story with you about my daughter who is 13 years old and in the 7th grade. She had Soul Shoppe at her school when she was in 3rd, 4th and 5th, and I wanted to tell you it has stayed with her to this day.

She was upset with her friend last month and she was writing a text to her one evening. She spent quite some time on the text and rereading it before she hit send. I asked her if everything was OK and she said, “I want to make sure I am not blaming her and that I am only talking about my feelings.” I was impressed with the text and the way she had used the “I Message.” When her friend texted back I was just as impressed with her response. It was completely “The Clean Up.”

The fact that it is so ingrained in them and their dealings with one another is a total testament to the program, the teachings and you as a leader.

Thank you for caring so much about the youth of today and doing the work that is required to set good examples for children!!!


TOGETHER. A Space to Come Together.


Bill Baren, long-time supporter of Soul Shoppe, offers heart-centered entrepreneurs a new co-working space to allow ease of collaboration and cross-promotion. Now, instead of working alone at home or side-by-side with strangers at the nearest Starbucks, solo-practitioners can work out of the new Bill Baren co-work space, Together.

The space at 3601 San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville, CA is not only beautiful, but is compassion and generosity in action. Bill has offered to donate a portion of revenue generated by the new space to Soul Shoppe, to further our mission of creating an empathy-driven, bully free world.

For more information contact Bill Baren’s offices directly at 415-362-8502 (9am – 5pm PST, Monday through Friday) or via email at

We are so grateful for Bill Baren Coaching and Together team management and staff. There is no better time to come Together.



5 Everyday Strategies for Practicing Gratitude

St Valentine's day greeting card with candle and hearts

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.
Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke

1. Start with Gratitude. In the morning before you get out of bed, remind yourself of three  things that bring joy to your life.

2. Pay It Forward. Tell someone why they are a wonderful addition to your life.  Reflect on someone who really helped you level up as a person.

3. Appreciate the Silver Linings. Life gets tough. Take a moment to look at the messy bits and journal, (a) what’s the problem, (b) what did you learn through the tribulations, (c) what is the take away of hard-earned knowledge that you will use in the future?

4. Thank the Invisibles. In our society some people do the hard-work behind the scenes. Today, say thank you to the barista, the person cleaning the office/school, and even the IT guy in the back keeping your servers up and running. Everyone likes to be seen.

5. Be Thankful for the Mundane. Whether doing the dishes or walking the dog, everyday chores are an opportunity to create mindful moments. Make your next repetitious, mundane task into an opportunity to express gratitude.